Two more seats clinched days before Lebanon poll

Source : reuters

BEIRUT- The sister of Lebanon

Hariri, a lawmaker in the outgoing parliament, has been an active member in the anti-Syrian opposition since the killing of her brother last February.

But unwilling to challenge her, the pro-Syrian coalition named Bahia on its ticket though she had said she would run as an independent.

A total of 53 candidates are running in the two constituencies of south Lebanon. Elections, held in four rounds between May 29 and June 19, there are set for June 5.

An election list led by Rafik al-Hariri’s son Saad had already won nine of 19 seats in Beirut after a spate of candidate withdrawals this week.

The first round of Lebanon’s phased polls will take place in Beirut on May 29.

The mainly Muslim city was the political bastion of the elder Hariri, a Sunni billionaire businessman. Anger at the killing and sympathy for his family was sure to carry his son to a landslide win at the polls.

Hariri’s death on Feb. 14 sparked huge street protests, which along with international pressure, forced Syria to end its 29-year military presence in Lebanon.

Many Lebanese blame Syria or its local security allies for the killing. Damascus denies any role.